The bad news coming out of Columbus began with the trickle of tattoos and has broadened into a steady stream of allegations of impropriety. To this point, the university has steadfastly supported head coach Jim Tressel, but comments made last night by Buckeye legend Chris Spielman indicate that support may be waning.
Speaking at an event in Lima last evening, Spielman stated that more information will be forthcoming and that he does not expect Tressel to coach at all in 2011. He further intimated that it may be time for Tressel and Ohio State to part ways “for the good of the university.”
Tressel is slated to serve a self- imposed 5 game suspension to begin the season, but new information about alleged improper car deals from a local dealership may attract new NCAA attention. Spielman’s comments mark the first time a respected Tressel supporter has hinted it may be time for him to step down.
“Ohio State is bigger than any one person,” Spielman told his audience last night. Even though Spielman repeated his longstanding belief that he would love for his son “to play for a man like Tressel,” it’s hard to downplay the significance of Spielman’s words.
Other Buckeyes, most notably ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, have been previously critical of Tressel and his handling of “Tat-gate.” Fans have largely responded with outrage toward the Tressel critics, to the point where Herbstreit has felt compelled to move his family from Columbus and suspend his Twitter account. How will they respond to these remarks from Spielman, perhaps the most beloved Buckeye since Woody Hayes?
The confluence of Spielman’s remarks, the involvement of the Columbus Dispatch in the newest allegations, and the NCAA’s overt efforts to put out a ” get tough on rulebreakers” image does not bode well for Tressel or Ohio State. Meanwhile, the steady stream of bad news is beginning to swell and flood the banks down by the Olentangy.